Poll: What is ‘Dallas’s’ Best Cliffhanger?

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Pam Ewing, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal

Every “Dallas” fan has a favorite finale. What’s yours?


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  1. joesiegler says:

    I think the question should be “What was the best cliffhanger OTHER than ‘Who Shot JR'”, since we all know that is winning the poll. 😉

  2. Had 1986 not been a dream, it may have been the best. It was a ton of cliffhangers in one. Bobby Returning, Sue Ellen and Jamie getting blown to pieces in separate locations. Imagine if Angelica Nero could have been a factor going into 1987 along with resolving all those other endings, wow 1987 what might have been….

  3. I try to answer this from the point of view of the audience that doesn’t know the conclusion yet. Shooting J.R. (both times) just doesn’t give me the sense of mystery that other cliffhangers had. Even the first time, when – allegedly – there was a chance that Hagman wouldn’t return, I don’t think that there was a real risk of losing him and J.R.. (Of course I ONLY know that story from hearsay because I was still a boy back then. So I am clearly biased)

    Probably under-appreciated is the Southfork fire. It wasn’t really a mystery because we all knew that the characters in danger would all be rescued. I was more concerned about the house. Some sets and exteriors on TV are so iconic that they become as important as the main characters (Southfork, the Walton’s home or even the starship Enterprise etc). You don’t want them harmed and destroying that iconic house would have been very disappointing to me. (That’s why I thought that TNT-Southfork should have resembled more CBS -Southfork. But that’s another story.)

    A lot more interesting is the return of Bobby – in the shower. Now that’s a cliff hanger I was wondering how they would be resolving that mystery. We know now they did it poorly, but the possibilities were endless bringing him back like that. (Knots Landing showed how it’s done when Val returned.) The Angelica Nero aspect was thrilling too. It was just a real mess almost of Moldavia-proportions. Tidying all that up could have been great fun. But no… they had to go with the reset button. Still, my vote goes to Bobby in the shower.

  4. Anonymous says:

    John Ross III sister Pamela Barnes Ewing!,,

  5. I’d say Brother J.R.’s shooting by Bing Crosby’s daughter. Obviously revenge on Bing by shooting J.R. for a lack of camera time on his Crosby Christmas specials!

  6. Was Bobby’s death telegraphed in advance like J.R.’s shooting was? This was a couple of years before my time of watching Dallas, but I would presume that by then the news was out that Patrick Duffy was leaving the show. So even if the audience didn’t know in advance that Bobby would be killed off, I would assume that it would not be as big of a shock as it could have been, if it just happened with no build-up. By contrast, with the 1986 cliffhanger, we all knew Bobby was returning *somehow*, but no one knew the details. I think most of the audience at the time expected a dramatic return at Pam and Mark’s wedding. But that shower scene in the last minute, especially following the two explosions, was just so ultimately shocking, that’s why it would be number one to me.

    This is closely followed by the 1984 cliffhanger, only because it was set-up so perfectly to be a repeat of Who Shot J.R., with a dozen people being ready to kill him and an unknown gunman going into J.R.’s office late night, only to see Bobby collapse from the chair instead. That had to be a real shock to the audience.

    Plus, as touching as that deathbed scene in 1985 was (especially J.R. pleading “Bobby, don’t leave me”), I can’t help but feel it’s kind of marred by having Donna Reed there instead of Barbara Bel Geddes…

    • J.R., yes, I believe Patrick Duffy’s departure was announced in April 1985, more than a month before “Swan Song” debuted. I also agree that Bobby’s deathbed scene would have been much more effective if Barbara Bel Geddes had been standing there instead of Donna Reed. I almost wish someone would CGI BBG into the scene.

  7. I had to vote “Who shot J.R.” because that whole episode and the preceding one were just great with J.R. scheming and making enemies.

    2nd place: “Bobby dies” Very sad. Like J.R. said in another episode: “just some dust comin off the range”

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